Midland (Mich.) Post 165 didn’t need a rally this time.
After snapping a scoreless tie in the fourth inning on Saturday, Post 165 used a strong pitching effort to knock off Omaha (Neb.) Post 1, 3-1, to remain the only unbeaten team left in the American Legion World Series at Veterans Field at Keeter Stadium in Shelby, N.C.
“That was a very, very good baseball game,” said Midland coach Dan Cronkright, whose Great Lakes Regional champion improved to 41-8 overall and 2-0 in the ALWS. “Well-pitched and well-played by both teams.
“I was so proud of my pitchers (starter and winner Andrew Young and reliever Tanner Sonntag). They allowed four hits and really didn’t allow many chances. So that’s a really good pitching effort.”
It came two days after Midland needed a three-run rally in the top of the seventh inning to knock off Chesapeake (Va.) Post 280, 5-4, in Thursday’s 2022 ALWS opener.
Even though Post 165 is the only unbeaten team left in the field, it still hasn’t yet clinched a berth in Monday’s semifinals as it enters the final game of the pool play on Sunday at 7 p.m. against two-time defending champion Idaho Falls (Idaho) Post 56.
“We’ll play that by ear and see how it goes,” said Cronkright, whose team will know what is at stake to advance to Monday’s semifinals when it plays on Sunday. “We’re not going to play to lose. That’s for sure.”
Midland is 2-0 in pool play in the Stripes Division while Idaho Falls and Omaha are both 1-1 and Chesapeake is 0-2. The top two finishers in each division advance to the semifinals.
Midland went 5-0 in the Great Lakes regional to make it 7-0 in national playoff competition this season. The last team to go unbeaten in national playoff competition was Las Vegas in 2008 when it went 10-0.
In Saturday’s Post 165 victory, a wild pitch and Zack Parker’s RBI single gave Midland a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. That advantage increased to 3-0 in the fifth when Jake Bakus hit a one-out double, advanced to third on Luke LaCourse’s single and scored on Sonntag’s RBI groundout.
LaCourse and Tyler Smith had two hits apiece to lead Midland’s 8-hit offense.
Jack Thiele and Keegan Holmstrom had doubles and Coby Hatcher and Elliot Peterson had singles to account for Omaha’s 4-hit offense.
Young got the win with 4 1-3 innings of 3-hit, 1-run pitching with four strikeouts and Sonntag the save in 2 2-3 innings on 1-hit, 4-strikeout relief.
Omaha’s lone run came in the sixth on a wild pitch.